Since I know lots of academics in different fields read this blog, I thought I’d ask a question of particular interest to us. How do (or would) you list publications on your blog that are aimed at a general readership but are not for that reason lacking in academic value or scholarly content?
Many of us write such books and articles at one point or another. It is rather straightforward to distinguish between peer-reviewed journal articles and other articles, be they in magazines or newspapers. But in the case of book it seems that there are university presses, and trade or popular presses, but in between there are also other publishers that publish books that are genuinely scholarly as well as ones that are less so.
Do you list books in the latter category, ones that are scholarly but aimed at a wider readership, in a separate place on your CV, or do you simply lump your books together, knowing that those interested merely in finding out what you’ve written won’t care, while those who are interested in evaluating your scholarship will know the difference anyway?
Does anyone have any additional information to share on whether, and to what extent, manuscripts submitted even to trade presses, if they are works of non fiction by academics, get submitted to some sort of peer review? Or is there only editorial review in such cases?
On a final note, clearly what counts as publishing in terms of one’s academic career are peer reviewed publications, and that should remain the case. Yet decisions about publication in traditional print format often involves not just peer review, but editors who must take factors like marketability and sales into consideration, and in the case of journal articles, the limited number of articles that can fit in a given issue. It will be interesting to see whether academic publishing moves more in the direction of print-on-demand (with or without a subsidy or fee) for books, and open access web-based venues for articles. The technology is there, and lots of people who need to “publish or perish” might feel more at ease knowing that their work on some obscure but important topic can be published in a peer reviewed venue based only on its academic value, and not on whether any other person then alive actually would want to pay to read it.